San Francisco 1906 Earthquake

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The Economic Disaster of a 7.8+ Earthquake on
The San Francisco Bay Area

Christina Sotelo
Geology 6 – Jefferis- Nilsen
November 21, 2012
Over the many decades the economic standing of the United States, specifically California, had fluctuated due to many unforeseen factors. One huge factor that cannot be anticipated, and often causes drastic effects on the economy, are geologic disasters. The state of California is notorious for having earthquakes that shake up the state quite often and leave the affected area with a substantial amount of damage. The 1906 earthquake of San Francisco was the largest geologic disaster known to the nation at the time it occured. Destroying about 80% of the city, this earthquake also caused an enormous amount of fires to break out throughout the city. Not only did the state of California have to build up funds to reconstruct the city, but also other states and nations provided economic relief to help rebuild the ninth largest city in the United States. As one of the most metropolitan areas in the West Coast of the US, San Francisco had a humongous task at hand to make this once financial, trade, and cultural center flourish once again. The magnitude of the earthquake caused widespread destruction due to the geologic setting of San Francisco, but also the destruction of buildings was due to the makeshift quality of the construction of the city. If there were to be a repeat of the quake today, it could possibly be more devastating than the first one. Therefore, the economic affect that an earthquake the same size as the one in 1906 would have on California would be far more disastrous and far more expensive due to the heavily dense population, the many old buildings still in use, and the costly price of real estate today.

California lies between two active plate boundaries known as the North American plate, which moves south, and the Pacific Plate, which moves north. These two plates are connected by the continental...
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